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Court Set Date To Hear Suit Querying Atiku’s Citizenship

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A Federal High Court, Abuja has scheduled hearing for September 27 in the suit challenging the citizenship status of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.

Justice Inyang Ekwo chose the day on Thursday after lawyer to the plaintiff; Akinola Oladimeji said he was unable to proceed.

At the mention of the case, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/177/2019, filed by a group – the Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa – Oladimeji told the court he was not prepared to go on because he only learnt that the case would on Thursday the previous day.

He said he was earlier informed that the case was to come up for hearing on September 20.

Upon learning that there was a mix-up in case scheduling by the court’s registrar, Justice Ekwo then adjourned till September 27 for haring but, told the plaintiff that it would be the last adjournment.

Egalitarian Mission filed the suit in 2019 to challenge Atiku’s eligibility to contest for president, arguing that he was not born a Nigerian.

Other defendants in the suit are the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF).

The plaintiff wants the court to declare that by provisions of Section 131(a) of the constitution; only a Nigerian citizen by birth can contest for the office of president.

It also seeks a declaration that by the combined interpretation of Sections 25 (1) (2) and 131(a) of the constitution, and giving the circumstances surrounding the birth of Abubakar, he cannot be cleared by PDP and INEC to contest for president.

The plaintiff equally asked the court for any order which it may seem fit to make in the circumstances of the application.

Atiku and the PDP, on which platform he contested the last election asked the court to dismiss the suit for lacking in merit.

In their notice of objection filed jointly, they insisted that the former vice president was a bonafide citizen of Nigeria.

Atiku stated that besides serving as Nigeria’s vice-president from 1999 to 2007, he held many public and private offices, including serving as governor of Adamawa and was a commissioned officer of the Nigerian Customs Service.

Atiku claimed that his parents, grandparents and great grandparents were born in Nigeria and they lived, died as Nigerians and were buried in Nigeria.

He stated that the suit was filed in bad faith in an attempt to malign his person and integrity.

The ex-Vice President also objected to the plaintiff’s right to challenge his nationality, arguing that it failed to show the interest it had above other citizens of Nigeria to be entitled to approach the court on the issue.

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